A wounded Chelsea side host Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
Despite his fervent denial of the effectiveness of Leeds United’s press, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea were on the end of a mauling at Elland Road last weekend. However, since the German tactician replaced Frank Lampard at the Stamford Bridge helm, Chelsea haven’t lost consecutive Premier League matches.
Here’s the XI Tuchel may deploy to avoid back-to-back defeats.
GK: Edouard Mendy – The only Premier League goalkeeper to attempt a dribble this season was made to regret it by Leeds’ Brenden Aaronson last weekend.
CB: Reece James – Ironically, the player that would be able to unshackle James from his back-three duties may still be under contract at Leicester City this weekend as Chelsea’s pursuit of Wesley Fofana drags on.
CB: Thiago Silva – The “Thiago Button of football” – as dubbed by his manager – is 37 years young.
CB: Cesar Azpilicueta – The versatility of Chelsea’s skipper may be called upon if the right-footed former left-back is tasked with filling in for the suspended Kalidou Koulibaly.
RWB: Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Chelsea’s academy graduate is a man of many talents; not only can he play in midfield and at wing-back, but he also won a county-wide drawing competition as a child.
CM: Jorginho – The team’s midfield metronome completed just 22 passes against Leeds, the lowest tally he has ever recorded in a Premier League start.
CM: Conor Gallagher – As full debuts go, Gallagher endured a baptism of fire as he was swamped by Leeds’ press. The durable but not overly dexterous midfielder may also be targeted by Leicester this weekend.
LWB: Marc Cucurella – The most expensive full-back in Premier League history has squeezed ahead of Ben Chilwell in the early season pecking order.
RW: Mason Mount – Chelsea’s top goalscorer and assist provider last season leads the way this term for shots and chances created but is yet to record a goal or assist.
ST: Kai Havertz – The local youth team Alemannia Mariadorf went against their own guidelines when they accepted Havertz even though he fell below the minimum age of five.
LW: Raheem Sterling – The £50m recruit has fired off half a dozen shots this season without hitting the target once – a threshold of inaccuracy only two players in Europe’s top five leagues can surpass.